Minoanisation in the Middle Bronze Age: evaluating the role of Cycladic producers and consumers
Natalie Abell Annual of the British School at Athens 111 (2016): 71-93
Minoanisation – the process by which Cretan ways of doing things spread throughout the Aegean – is a major focus of study in the Middle and Late Bronze Age Cycladic islands, but debate about the primary causes of the phenomenon has been concerned chiefly with its Late Bronze Age phases. In this article, the author considers the earliest phase of Minoanisation at Ayia Irini on Kea, Period V. The ceramic assemblage is considered holistically, including local and imported as well as Minoanising and non-Minoanising pottery. The Keian assemblage is compared with recently published discussions of Phase C at Akrotiri on Thera and City II-iii at Phylakopi on Melos. New, non-Minoanising features of the Keian assemblage in Period V, particularly in the form of new shapes and increased importation of Melian and/or Theran pottery, suggest that Melian and/or Theran communities engaged in new production and exchange strategies at this time. It is likely that these new intra-Cycladic relationships played an important role in changing local tastes and practices at Ayia Irini, spurring the adoption of new Minoanising as well as non-Minoanising forms of material culture and practice.